Is it, then, your opinion
Women are putty in your hands?
Is this the face to launch upon
A thousand one night stands?
First, please, would you be so kind
As to define your contribution
To modern verse, the Western mind
And human institutions?
Where, where is the long, flowing hair,
The velvet suit, the broad bow tie;
Where is the other-worldly air,
Where the abstracted eye?
Describe the influence on your verse
Of Oscar Mudwarp’s mighty line,
The theories of Susan Schmersch
Or the spondee’s decline.
You’ve labored to present us with
This mouse-sized volume; shall this equal
The epic glories of Joe Smith?
He’s just brought out a sequel.
Where are the beard, the bongo drums,
Tattered T-shirt and grubby sandals,
As who, released from Iowa, comes
To tell of wondrous scandals?
Have you subversive, out of date,
Or controversial ideas?
And can you really pull your weight
Among such minds as these?
Ah, what avails the tenure race,
Ah, what the Ph.D.,
When all departments have a place
For nincompoops like thee?
W.D. Snodgrass, “The Poet Ridiculed by Hysterical Academics” from Selected Poems, 1957-1987 (New York: Soho Press, 1987). Copyright © 1987 by W.D. Snodgrass. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Selected Poems 1957-1987 (1987)